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Group Targets Teen Boys in Pregnancy Prevention

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RALEIGH — Teenagers face a lot of temptations and tough choices. Making sure they do not become young parents is not an easy task. One group is taking a unique approach. Instead of just working with teenage girls, they are including boys in their pregnancy prevention program.

For the first time in 14 years, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina is targeting young men at their annual conference.

Their goal is to make teenage boys understand that they are just as responsible for the pregnancyandthe baby.

Chris Jones became a father when he was 17-years-old.

"You have to grow up really fast," says Jones. "It put a strain on me having to go to school, come home and be daddy. When usually at 17 or 18 I'd be out playing ball or whatever."

Delmonte Jefferson runs an after-school program for teenage boys in Wendell.

"There has to be a new awareness, a new norm that says males are equally involved and equally responsible," says Jefferson.

Baby-Think-It-Over is a doll which simulates what it is like to be responsible for a real child. It teaches young boys that they are not ready to be parents.

At least once an hour, Baby-Think-About-It spontaneously cries.

"I had kids coming to me [saying] 'Take it. I don't want it any more.' It gets annoying," says 15-year-old Chris Rutherford of the doll.

Jones wishes he had waited but would not trade his 8-year-old son Christian for anything. He says once you make the choice, you must take responsibility.

"Always be there for your child," says Jones. "It's very important for a child to have two parents."

North Carolina ranks tenth in the country in the number of teenagers giving birth. But the good news is that the numbers have been steadily going down since 1990.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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